Compiled ByTonya Vinas Demand for executives dropped 15% in the third quarter of 2002 compared with the same quarter in 2001, according to the Executive Talent Demand Index (ETDI). The index has been published quarterly since 1997 by ExecuNet.com, an online career management service for executives and recruiters. The bright spot, however, is that the 15% decline is better than the 26% and 19% declines logged during the first two quarters of this year, respectively. "While the clouds have not yet lifted from the executive employment market, the forecast is improving," says Dave Opton, CEO and founder of ExecuNet.com. "The decline in jobs continues to improve after reaching a bottom in the fourth quarter of last year." Compared with the same period last year, demand for executives in the retail sector climbed 10%; pharmaceuticals/health care/biotech posted a 1% rise; high tech suffered a 33% decline; business services dropped 27%; natural resources/base materials dropped 13%; and media/creative/publishing dropped 10%. Manufacturing and financial services had single-digit drops of 6% and 8% respectively.